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A Little Alcohol May Help Arthritis Sufferers

Drinking alcohol may lower the risk and reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis according to a recent study by researchers from the University of Sheffield in the UK. The study was published in the July 2010 issue of journal Rheumatology.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic auto-immune disease that causes painful inflammation around synovial joints such as the knees, fingers and elbows. Rheumatoid arthritis can make it difficult to carry out normal activities of daily living like standing, walking, dressing and washing.

This particular study was the first human study to look into the association between rheumatoid arthritis and alcohol consumption. For the study the researchers recruited 873 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and compared them to 1,004 healthy control subjects.

The researchers found that the participants who drank alcohol more frequently were less likely to have arthritis. Non-drinkers were found to be four times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than people who drank more than 10 times per month.

They also found that participants who drank more frequently and did have arthritis tended to have less severe symptoms.

These findings show that alcohol may act as a dietary control for arthritis. However, due to the known health risks associated with alcohol consumption further research is necessary to determine if there would be any harmful side effects.

In the meantime, there are many studies showing the health benefits associated with moderate alcohol consumption such as reducing the risk of heart disease to extending life expectancy. These benefits are particularly apparent with wine consumption because wine is high in a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory called resveratrol.

It is important not to get carried away, however, because the negative effects of heavy drinking quickly overcome the potential benefits that are associated with 1-2 drinks a night.

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